• Pasta Grammar

Eggplant Meatballs | Authentic Italian Recipe

These meatless, eggplant "meatballs" are a common sight in Calabria. Eggplants have a deep, earthy flavor that makes them a great vegetarian substitute.


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Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs | Authentic Italian Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:



Makes 10-12 meatballs.


For this recipe, you will need:

  • Salt

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed

  • 1 egg

  • 2/3 cup (100g) dry breadcrumbs, or to taste

  • 1 oz. (30g) grated pecorino cheese

  • 1 oz. (30g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

  • Fresh black pepper

  • Olive or vegetable oil for frying



Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the cubed eggplants and boil for 5 minutes. Drain them and allow them to cool to the touch before squeezing the excess water out. Transfer to a mixing bowl.



Add the egg, breadcrumbs, cheeses, and parsley, plus a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix all together by hand. If the mixture seems wet or sticky, feel free to add some more breadcrumbs.



Roll the mixture into large "meatballs." If you prefer them crispier, flatten them slightly between your palms. If you prefer a more tender center, leave them round.



Fill a large pan with enough frying oil to submerge the meatballs and bring up to a high temperature on the stovetop. If using a thermometer, aim for about 355 degrees F (180 C). We never use a thermometer, though. Our method is quite simple: drop a breadcrumb in the oil; if it immediately bubbles furiously, the oil is hot enough to fry.



Working in batches, carefully drop the balls into the oil and fry, turning gently, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.



Buon appetito!




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